In recent years, probably as far back as 2008, an increasingly common reason for an application being rejected is experience. Of course, a lack of relevant experience has been one of the main reasons for being turned away since the first job was conceived, so how exactly is this new? Simply put, the trend has been turned on its head.
When a new member of staff joins a team, there is always a period of transition during which the employee gets adjusted to their new environment, colleagues, duties and requirements. This normally comes with training and assistance from management and other staff members, something that takes up both time and resources. It is also expected that for a period, the new employees work standard will not be exactly what the company is after, at least while they get accustomed to their new day-by-day. This is expected and accounted for but it does rest on the premise that this is a returnable investment time, that newly trained and adjusted staff members will repay them through their work.
I remember when I was a fresh grad, applying for jobs marketed as “no experience needed” and getting tipped to the post by thosewithdirect experience – a very frustrating time indeed. At the moment however, the trend appears to be the other way around. If a company believes that a candidate is over qualified and merely looking for something to pass them over whilst they wait for a better job to come along, it is an immediate turn off, and their ability to perform the required tasks simply won’t be enough. The recruitment process is not an easy, brief or cheap one, and companies certainly don’t want to have to repeat it unnecessarily.
Subsequently, employee retention is one of the most important factors HR departments have to consider with new hires, as it is paramount that the person they bring in is committed to the company. But how can you tell what a person you’ve only just met is really planning, what they’re really thinking? Well, you can’t, but through years of experience, there are tells and indications even before the interview process. The most appealing candidates are the ones with the EXACT amount of experience required for the role, the candidates who know enough to complete the duties required, but not too much as to get bored of the tasks in hand. These are the infamous “purple squirrels” recruiters search for, people we believe are looking for a career rather than just a job (something I hear multiple times a week fyi)
This is why one of the most important messages I can give to all prospective candidates, regardless of level, isknow where to market yourself. Underselling can be as redundant or counterproductive as a junior accountant applying for a financial director’s job: it just doesn’t appeal.
I understand that the job search can be frustrating, depressing at times, and not a process that most people enjoy, but I urge you to avoid desperation and target only roles that are right for you, regardless of whether or not you can do the required work.
One of the main benefits of using an agency during the job hunt is that with our industry experience and understanding of the market, we can provide advice onwhereyou should be aiming, on which jobs you are suitable for, and what would simply be a misuse of time. We are always happy to help people of all levels to gain a better commercial understanding of where they “fit” in the market, and frequently this one simple piece of information can be invaluable for all parties.
Consultant, Finance Division